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The Inside Scoop On Flipping Houses with Kristen Thompson

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Thomas Group has many talented agents doing extraordinary things to assist clients in their house-hunting journey. We recently interviewed agent Kristen Thompson about some of the things she does to stand out in the real estate market. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What inspired you to start flipping houses? 

Thompson: Since I got my real estate license back in 2012, I put this on my wish list. We have had many ups and downs over the years, and this dream continued to get pushed further and further down the road. Last year, I just finished cancer treatments and was feeling ambitious. I felt I wanted to make my dreams happen. In addition, I was constantly seeing homes that have been forgotten and left to ruin. This along with record shortages in homes pushed me even more. Homebuyers typically cannot afford to make these types of repairs and it is nearly impossible to get financing for them. I contacted a past customer who I have assisted previously to purchase a few homes and asked if he would partner with us.  He was so excited, and it has been a wonderful fit and experience. 

2. What was the biggest lesson that you learned along the way? 

Thompson: To be confident and trust myself. Every time I go against my gut is when we have had problems. 

3. What advice would you give someone who is interested in starting to flip homes? 

Thompson: Develop your team. You need to hire the right contractors that are reasonable people that can accept constructive criticism well. I also work with my husband, Randal, in this business; he is a Godsend! He is the person I can share my doubts with. We bounce ideas off each other and tackle challenges together. I love that I have someone to do this with. Also, protect your time! This business, and really any business or career, can consume you and take your time away from everything that is important. For me, this is my husband and kids. I never ask our contractors to work late in the day or on weekends, on the contrary, I insist they don’t.  Getting the homes done quickly is important but not at the sacrifice of your personal time. 

4. How can someone find a home to flip in this market? Where do you look and who do you contact?

Thompson: Everywhere and anywhere. We have found homes on Facebook, Craigslist, the MLS, auction, and just driving through neighborhoods. You have to get creative.

5. Do you have to have a lot of upfront capital to consider flipping?

Thompson: Yes. When you first start you will almost entirely be self-funded. Once you get a few houses completed, hard money lenders will work with you, but that comes at a steep price.  The best option for us was finding a financial partner that we could team up with. There are a lot of people out there that have money to invest, you just have to find them. The best way to do this is by looking at your current contacts, networking at events, and just getting to know people. 

6. Would you do it again?

Thompson: Absolutely. We have done a total of seven properties that are at various stages: some have sold, some are being remodeled and others are about to start. We have one project that has been a challenge. We have had contractor issues along the way, and it has been a headache. Even this home, I am proud of. I know that when it came down to it, we completed the home the way it should have been done, [and] we didn’t cut corners to save money.  Every challenge is a lesson learned, so I welcome them. 

7. How much time did it take from start to finish? 

Thompson: Each home is different. The typical time is six to eight weeks. However, we have a large home that will be starting that is expected to take 4 months. 

Flipping homes is so much more than showing love to abandoned or forgotten houses. The process allows DIY hobbyists and investors to get creative and branch out to try new things. If you’re looking to get started on your house-flipping journey, we hope this advice will inspire you to start the process. Contact one of our amazing agents today to get find the perfect property.

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